Category Archives: charity

“What Happened in Vegas??” Blog Hop Wrap-Up

You guys! I cannot say enough thank yous to the authors and blog sites that teams up for the “What Happened in Vegas??” Blog Hop, celebrating the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States. The complete list of links to the stories is below. Each post highlights an LGBT charity that the post’s author supports, so be sure to check those out!

Here is the complete schedule:

8/3 Shae Connor The Novel Approach
8/5 Kelly Jensen Charley Descoteaux
8/10 Holley Trent Kelly Jensen
8/12 Grace R. Duncan Prism Book Alliance
8/14 Ann Anderson Anne Barwell
8/17 Jenn Burke Dirk Greyson
8/19 Jana Denardo J.P. Barnaby
8/21 Anna Zabo Hearts on Fire
8/24 C. J. Anthony Love Bytes
8/27 Nicole Dennis Joyfully Jay
8/29 JP Barnaby Bike Book Reviews
8/31 Hunter Frost Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Do You Know About Amazon Smile?

Yes, I’m going to sound like a commercial today. But it’s for a good cause—or more accurately, nearly a million of them. 🙂


I believe it was JP Barnaby who first clued me in about AmazonSmile. This is a program that allows you to select a charitable organization that will receive a donation when you make an Amazon purchase. (Not all purchases; for example, Subscribe-and-Save orders don’t count. Eligible items will have an “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” note.)


All you have to do is shop at Amazon using the URL, and the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price you pay for an item to the charity you choose. (For more info, go here.)


To sign up, go to the AmazonSmile URL and choose a charity. You can even request a new charity be added if you like. (I signed up for Lost-N-Found Youth, an Atlanta-based organization that focuses on homeless LGBT youth.)


Check it out! Every little bit helps. 🙂

Coming Soon: Grand Adventures

Eric Arvin and T.J. Klune are two well-known and well-liked authors in the gay romance community who are happily coupled and planning to marry later this year. In December, Eric suddenly had to undergo brain surgery that’s left him mostly paralyzed. It’s been a very hard few months, but through everything, their love has only grown stronger.

GrandAdventuresLGEric and T.J. are both published (in part) by my primary publisher, Dreamspinner Press, which decided to put together an anthology, Grand Adventures, with all proceeds going to help Eric and T.J. pay the many extra costs associated with managing Eric’s condition. I was happy to contribute a second edition of my short story “Stripped,” and when I saw the lineup of other authors, I felt a little giddy. And the cover! OMG. So much love. (You’ll be able to buy prints and maybe even t-shirts of the cover art soon, too!)

The anthology will be released on March 31 and is available for preorder now in ebook or paperback format. It’s a fantastic way to help out two great guys.

(P.S. You can also donate directly to T.J. and Eric through the GoFundMe page set up by friends. Since everything at Dreamspinner is on sale right now, consider donating the difference between the purchase price and the price you pay for your preorder!)

Leveling the Playing Field

olympicsOver the past year or so, the news has been filled with stories of athletes coming out of the closet. Athletes in two major sports in the United States, Jason Collins in the National Basketball Association and Robbie Rogers in Major League Soccer, have taken the huge step of coming out. Pro boxer Orlando Cruz came out and has since gotten engaged. A number of individual and team Olympic athletes have come out as well, including diver Tom Daley, gymnast Josh Dixon, and women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe. A total of six out athletes will compete at 2014 Olympics Winter Games, which start today in Sochi, Russia.

But not everything is coming up roses, to say the least. Jason Collins is still without a team. In the National Football League, two straight allies, Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo, spoke out in support of marriage equality, and another player, Kerry Rhodes, was rumored to be gay. All are teamless now. No one in professional baseball, hockey, or (American) football has yet to come out while an active player. (With the exception of Glenn Burke back in the 1970s.)

Google2-6-14And, of course, there’s Sochi. Russia’s new, severe laws against homosexuality have raised alarms worldwide, both for the people who are traveling there for the Games and for those who live there. The International Olympic Committee and a number of Olympics sponsors are under fire for not speaking out against Russia’s attacks—both figurative and literal—on homosexuality and homosexuals. Several world leaders, including President Obama, have declined to attend the Games, and the United States put together an official delegation that includes out former athletes. And yesterday, Google posted a new “doodle” (as shown) that makes its message rainbow-clear.

For every step forward, sports seems to take another step back when it comes to gay athletes. How will this all end? I don’t know. I know a lot of people in and surrounding the LGBT community are torn. Do we ignore Sochi in protest of Russia’s laws? Or do we watch to support the athletes, including those who are gay (openly or not)? It’s ironic to see the rainbow colors of the Olympic Games heralded in a city where waving a full rainbow flag can get you beaten, arrested, or worse.

principle_6_quoteOne rallying point for the Olympics issue has become the Principle 6 campaign, which is based on the part of the Olympic charter that reads: Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement. This new organization is raising funds to support LGBT advocacy groups in Russia, but they’re only one group that’s fighting this fight. A number of organizations have been leading the way in the efforts to make sports at all levels more accepting of athletes of all sexualities.

youcanplayRussianYou Can Play fights homophobia not just among players but also among fans and is “dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation.” YCP was co-founded by Patrick Burke (no relation to Glenn Burke), who’s the son of Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, who serves on the organization’s advisory board. Patrick’s youngest brother (Brian’s son), Brendan, was an openly gay college hockey player who was outspoken against homophobia in sports. He died in a car accident in 2010, and YCP was founded in March 2012 his memory. The version of the organization’s logo shown here reads “you can play” in Russian.

GO! Athletes focuses on student athletes, “educating athletes, coaches, administrators, and fans to foster athletic communities that are accepting of ALL, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.” Founded in January 2008 by seven current and former LGBT athletes, GO! offers peer support, training and workshops for staff and athletes, and educational materials to help fight homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of LGBTQA discrimination.

You Belong was founded by former NFL player Wade Davis, who came out last year and has just taken over as executive director of You Can Play. This initiative will be offering sports instruction and leadership development clinics for LGBTQ youth and straight allies nationwide. The first clinic was held in July 2013.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s Changing the Game project focuses on the kindergarten through grade 12 school levels. The program aims to help “in creating and maintaining an athletic and physical education climate that is based on the core principles of respect, safety and equal access for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.” Board members include Patrick and Brian Burke.

Each of these organizations has a lot to offer to LGBT athletes and their straight allies. I encourage you to check them out and donate your time or money if you can. Working together, we can help make it easier for talented athletes to play the games they love without losing out simply because of who they are.

World colors image courtesy of njaj /

Charity Extras!

For those who missed my 12 Days of Charity post, well, head on over and check it out! I had a few extra charitable organizations that I became aware of too late to include in the list, or that were included in a previous list but that I wanted to give an extra boost this year.

The Homeless Youth Alliance in San Francisco is facing eviction from its storefront drop-in center location on Haight Street. The current landlord is ending the center’s lease so it can renovate the space into much higher-cost housing and retail shops. The center serves up to 150 people per day, providing counseling services, showers, and referrals to housing, mental health, and drug treatment programs. They’re currently looking for new space, but it’s especially tough considering how expensive real estate is in the city.

Closer to home for me, Lost-N-Found Youth provides housing and services to homeless LGBT youth in the Atlanta area. LNF has set up a gift registry online so you see exactly what they need and have it shipped to the center. This close to Christmas, it might be best to donate money, but still, it’s pretty awesome to see how many things on the list have already been purchased!

Finally, a friend of mine brought my attention to The Women’s Prison Association, a 160-year-old nonprofit that offers programs for formerly and currently incarcerated women and women who might be at risk for incarceration. One of the organization’s biggest successes is the alternative to incarceration program. From the website: “WPA provides direct assistance to approximately 2,500 women and their families each year. We offer an integrated continuum of services to criminal justice-involved women in response to five key areas of need: livelihood, housing, family, health and well-being, and criminal justice compliance.”

Sandy Relief Donation

Remember back when I said I’d donate $1 for each fourth quarter sale from my backlist to Sandy relief? Well, we have a total!

I’m a little late due to reporting delays, but for the fourth quarter of 2012, my backlist sales totaled 200 copies. (Yes, it came out even. I’m surprised too!) That’s for nine titles from three publishers. So, minus the $50 I donated back when I started this whole crazy thing, that means I’ll be sending an additional $150 to Hurricane Sandy relief. Because I ended up making part of my initial donation to the Occupy Sandy relief group, I’m going to split this donation between the disaster relief funds for Feeding America and the Red Cross.

Thank you SO much to everyone who purchased a book last quarter, and anytime, for that matter. You rock!

Sandy Relief Donations

I’ve decided to donate $1 to Sandy relief efforts for each individual sale off my backlist for the fourth quarter of 2012 (October 1–December 31). I’m donating $50 immediately to Feeding America’s Disaster Relief fund, the rest to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund on January 31, 2013.

A few reasons that I’ve gone this route:

  • I don’t have an easy way to track sales by the week or month, so quarterly it is.
  • I can spare the money because I’m lucky enough not to rely on royalties to pay the bills, like a lot of authors do.
  • I’m offering only the stories on the special Sandy relief page because sales links are already there, and I don’t receive royalties for other sales/formats.
  • While many relief agencies are working hard on the ground right now, some (like the Red Cross) are getting much more attention than others. Feeding America is working under the radar, delivering food and water to storm victims, so I chose them for a donation now. And the Red Cross will need to replenish its Disaster Relief fund after Sandy, even if they’re no longer involved directly in providing help by then. There is always another disaster just over the horizon.

If you have questions, feel free to ask. 🙂

Help Write Now: Come Over and Bid!

I’m participating in the Help Write Now auction to benefit the victims of last week’s killer tornado outbreak in the Southeast. I’m offering a full manuscript beta/critique, with an optional phone or Skype chat to discuss. Come on over and get in your bids! 🙂

A Plea on Behalf of My Neighbors

I’m putting this part up front. Whether you read my ramblings or not, please, please donate to tornado disaster relief. As with other recent fund-raising efforts, there are several ways you can easily donate $10.

West Alabama Food Bank: text FOOD to 27722
The United Way Central Alabama: text TORNADO to 50555
American Red Cross: text REDCROSS to 90999
Salvation Army: text GIVE to 80888

The Alabama governor’s office has set up a website for donations here. If you can volunteer to go in and help with cleanup, especially if you have specific skills, you can register here and will be contacted as needed. (I did.) Editing to add one more site: Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa has information on sending supplies directly, including locations in different states.

I’ll also repeat something I said elsewhere: If you ever said “take care of our own first,” especially about the Japan earthquake, but haven’t done anything for tornado victims, then shut your damn trap.

Now, for the rest of the post.

Continue reading

Japan Calls Charity Auction

A quick promo for a fundraiser two good friends of mine have put together for disaster relief in Japan.

Japan Calls allows you to bid on a personalized, 15-second voice message from one of a long list of entertainers—actors, musicians, and others. Donations go directly to relief charities (a list is provided). The list of entertainers runs the gamut from Mark Ruffalo to Eliza Dushku to Sasha Cohen to Aiden Turner to the Veronicas. Auctions opened today and will run for a week.

You can check out the full list and place a bid here. (The auction is on Livejournal, but you do not need to have a Livejournal account to bid.)